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Weather Forecast

Aug 25, 2016

Update on Cotton Situation

According to Dr. Gaylon Morgan, Professor and State Extension Cotton Specialist, if the cotton fields dry out very soon we may not be facing as much fiber quality issues as we were thinking.

As long as the sprouted and germinated seed dries down completely, there should be relatively few problems with ginning. There will be some losses due to discoloration/color grade and some loss of seed value depending on the percent sprouted seed. However, fiber characteristics should remain unchanged unless we continue to get rain for a long time. 

The picture below is of two ginned samples taken from local fields (no cleaners). You can see the color differences between the two, as well as compared to the normal bright white. 

This is the seed from the sample. The dried sprouts have created some extra trash, but the seed will still be valuable: the sprouted seed won't be much of an issue for feed, but will lose some quality for oil.

Aug 24, 2016

Wet Weather and Mosquitoes

Many people associate wet, humid weather with mosquitoes. With all the rain we've had its natural to assume that mosquito populations will soon be on the rise, and 'mosquito season' can last until October in Texas, or until cooler weather sets in.

The reason for this correlation is very simple: mosquito larvae develop in water.

This year, with the Zika virus looming on our doorstep, the mosquitoes we are most concerned about depend on small, contained water sources. The mosquito species that carry Zika can emerge from something as small as a bottle cap of water. They do not travel very far from their emergence site and feed exclusively on humans, so they only stick around populated areas. Fogging with adulticides or larvicides is not effective on these species, as it was with the West Nile mosquito. They are harder to reach and some only come out during the day, instead of the evening and mornings, to feed.

This is why the first and best line of defense we have against Zika is source reduction. If we can remove breeding sites in our neighborhoods, we can reduce the mosquito population where it matters most: close to home.

The following items can be mosquito breeding grounds. Consider dumping the water as we continue to get rain, or treat the water with mosquito dunks.

  • Trash: bottles, old tires, broken equipment/pots/tools, ect
  • Buckets and watering cans
  • Plant drip trays
  • Rainwater tanks
  • Pet water bowls or troughs 
  • Kiddie pools
  • Garden/lawn sites with poor drainage
  • Bird baths
  • Gutters
  • Leaky faucets
  • Children's yard toys
  • Unfiltered/untreated pools and spas
  • Ruts or holes in yards
  • Upturned garbage can lids

Aug 18, 2016

Weathered Cotton

You can download today's newsletter from the Hill County AgriLife website.

It's been 6 days since the rains started, and the effects on the cotton are already apparent. Fields are sopping wet, and will have a hard time drying out with more rain coming and the sun not shining. The corn got a good soaking and will take time to dry down for harvest.

Most fields look about like this. Mud, cotton on the ground, possibly ready to start regrowth which will further delay harvest. Rains may also bring new flushes of weeds, but most Hill County producers have worked hard at keeping the fields clean.

The bracts of the cotton boll contain tannins that can stain the lint this brown color. Dirt can also splash up onto the lint and cause staining. Sunshine will help reduce the stains, and some of the dirt can be knocked off during harvest, but staining is a quality loss that will eat into profits.

More stained, soppy cotton. Defoliants that were applied too late before the rain didn't have time to work. This can also cause leaf stick, where the dead leaves don't completely fall off, and instead can drape over the bolls. This causes more trash that has to be cleaned more vigorously. 

Some bolls have seeds sprouting inside. Sprouted seed is not completely worthless but it may be much harder to sell, and for a very reduced price.

Some bolls are more extreme with seeds sprouting. The sprouts can also result in more gin trash.

Directly impacting yields, cotton stringout happens when the rain soaks the lint and pulls it down from the weight. Heavier rains can pull the lint to the ground, which can't be harvested.

More cotton stringout.

Aug 17, 2016

Rain, rain, go away

Some places in Hill County have gotten over 3 inches of rain so far. Corn harvest is very delayed for many people, and with rains expected every day until Saturday, there's no way of knowing when things will be dry enough to get back to the field. The open cotton bolls are in danger of stringout, falling lint, and staining from mold/mildew and dirt splash.

Aug 12, 2016


Today's issue of the newsletter is available for download.

The Hill County AgriLife IPM page has been updated with all of the newsletters from 2016, as well as IPM/pest articles and publications you can download for free. Enjoy!


We've been hard at work getting in the sorghum variety trial harvested and putting in a cotton harvest aid trial. Thanks to Chad Kaska, Jerry Gerik, Dale Mott, and all others involved in the trials this week. Details about the location and time of the cotton crop tour coming soon!

Zach weighs sorghum seed from the variety trial.

Zach and Extension Specialist Dale Mott load up cotton defoliant treatments into the spider sprayer.

Dale Mott operates the spider sprayer.

Aug 10, 2016

Article on Neonics and Bees

Check out this article with comments from a Mississippi State bee expert. In summary, there is no clear link between pesticide use and colony collapse disorder. He makes a point that laboratory studies that tested neonicitinoids used doses 10x higher than field rates before bee deaths occurred.

Aug 8, 2016

Zika Virus Updates

Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension Livestock/Veterinary Entomologist, recently published this video which goes into detail on how you can protect yourself from the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus.